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Microfun, Inc. (hereinafter referred to as "Microfun") was founded in August 2008 in Beijing, focusing on the development, sales and maintenance of amazing leisure mobile games. By adhering to the corporate culture of "Fun, Learning and Excellence", Microfun aims to create the world's leading mobile game brand. Since 2012, Microfun has successively introduced "Fashion Life", "Super Model", "Dreamy Spirit Valley", "Dreamy Cake Shop", “Frozen: Ice Match" and "Jellipop Match" etc., and many of them are the champion games. The company's star mobile game “Jellipop Match" has entered top 3 since its launch in August 2014 under the category of casual game of elimination. In December 2015, the game won the first Black Stone Award of Mobile Hardcore Alliance. Its active users exceeded 10 million in July 2016. Another elimination game “Munchkin Match” introduced in May 2017 got Apple Store recommendation. Microfun has been recognized as a National High-Tech Enterprise and Zhongguancun High-Tech Enterprise, among other honors and distinctions.

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AWS has provided a strong guarantee for the business development of Microfun and we feel very relieved when using AWS Cloud service.

Gao Chi

Architect of Microfun, Inc.

Challenges

Microfun used IDC online hosting server at the beginning of its establishment. With continuous expansion of business and maturity of cloud computing technology, the company successively chose 3 domestic cloud service providers and encountered such problems as restricted network bandwidth and oversold host CPU. Unstable service is a fatal problem for a game company, especially during company events, which not only causes economic losses to the company, but also leads to losing of users, directly hampering the company's business development. Confronted with the above problems and the demand of expansion in the overseas market, Microfun had to consider changing cloud service providers. The new cloud service platform should be able to guarantee the stability of servers and provide customers with 7x24 hours of uninterrupted service.

Why AWS?

Microfun has successively launched amazing games "Jellipop Match" and "Munchkin Match", accompanied by the number of users rising sharply, with more than 10 million daily active users in China alone. With the continuous expansion of the company's business and the increase of user visits, higher requirements are also put forward for the stability, security and other aspects of the server. As a vendor entering the cloud service market earlier, AWS had provided services to millions of active users in more than 190 countries or regions as of February 2018, accumulating rich experiences and enjoying excellent reputation among customers. Its stability and flexibility has been witnessed by all in the industry. That is why Microfun focuses its attention on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

  • Stable, flexible and reliable
  • High security of game data
  • High-speed data migration
  • Powerful data analyzing service
  • Stable, flexible and reliable
  • Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) can automatically distribute incoming application traffic among multiple targets, such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, containers and IP addresses. ELB can also handle continuously changing application traffic loads in a single availability zone or across multiple availability zones. ELB enables the application to expand with the increase of user visits, which exactly satisfies Microfun game players' demands for abnormal surging traffic. This ensures the stability of server and provides good gaming experiences for game players. Amazon CloudWatch can monitor various services and send security warning messages to O&M personnel by email when problems occur. After receiving the warning information, the O&M personnel can deal with problems in time.

  • High security of game data
  • Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) provides such advanced security features as security group and network access control list, realizing inbound and outbound filtering at the instance and subnet level. At the same time, it can also restrict access to the stored data in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), so that the data can only be accessed through Amazon VPC, therefore increasing the security of data access.

    Game data (such as props, pictures, user information, etc.) are important assets of the company. Microfun values the security of architectural design and service. Microfun has fully considered the Amazon VPC security groups and logical isolation in respect of architectural design. Users can only obtain data with permission, therefore ensuring the high security of game data.

  • High-speed data migration
  • The speed of data migration directly affects the progress of project deployment. Microfun has 50T of game data volume. It will take about 30 days to transfer the data to AWS data center through a 60M network, and the monthly cost will be nearly CNY 50,000 - 60,000 for a special mobile line. The above two solutions cost a huge amount of time and cost, while the complete migration of 50T data through AWS Snowball only takes 7 days at the rental cost at CNY 1000 per month. Significant reduction of time and cost helps Microfun successfully complete the migration of game data.

    Snowball is a PB-level data transfer solution provided by AWS. It uses security devices to transfer a large amount of data among AWS clouds, featuring high speed, security and low cost. Challenges of large-scale data transmission (including high network costs, long transmission time and security problems) can be addressed with Snowball.

  • Powerful data analyzing service
  • Microfun used powerful data analysis service of AWS with Amazon Kinesis to collect, process and analyze real-time streaming data so as to keep up with new information and respond quickly, and with the Hadoop architecture of Amazon EMR to make business intelligent data analysis report regularly so as to quickly calculate the business value of games. Relying on powerful data analyzing capability of AWS, Microfun may formulate accurate game promotion and sales plans. In addition, the wide global coverage of AWS availability zone is also one of the reasons that Microfun chooses AWS cloud platform.

Figure 1 is a diagram for the architecture of Microfun mobile games. Applications using AWS Cloud services include Amazon EC2, ELB, CloudWatch, Amazon Route 53, Amazon S3, Kinesis, Amazon EMR, Snowball, Amazon VPC, Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), Amazon Simple Queue Service(SQS), etc.

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Figure 1: Architecture Diagram for the AWS-based Microfun Mobile Game System

Achievements

The number of daily active users of Microfun games has amounted to more than 10 million currently, with data volume exceeding 50 T.A system was deployed in AWS China (Beijing) Region operated by SINNET and AWS overseas area respectively, where the AWS services are used frequently include Amazon EC2, ELB, Amazon S3, Amazon EMR, etc. The use of AWS Cloud platform brings Microfun benefits mainly in the aspects of more stable and secure game systems, continuous reduction of operation and maintenance costs, etc.

"AWS provides a strong guarantee for Microfun's business. Previously, there used to be 3-4 infrastructure accidents every year. Since the system was migrated to AWS platform, such incidents have never occurred again and the system is very stable, " said Gao Chi, architect of Microfun. With the expansion of the business, Microfun focuses more attention on the stability of service. Especially during the promotional period of the game, the traffic is skyrocketing (nearly 20,0000 access the service within 10 minutes, according to statistics of previous events). Once system failure or network problems occur, user experiences will be affected directly, which in turn causes loss of users and impairs investment of the company. After choosing AWS, the system availability has been improved significantly, fully ensuring the smooth implementation of the company’s business.

Microfun uses CloudWatch for real-time monitoring of server application, collects and tracks various indicators, sets alarm and gets to know utilization rate of resources and system performance comprehensively. When the program is malfunctioning, CloudWatch will immediately send a mail to inform operation and maintenance staff of the reason for the error, so that operation and maintenance staff can respond timely, therefore ensuring smooth operation of the application. "CloudWatch monitoring service provides an extremely accurate analysis of program error and locating - much more accurate than the monitoring system we’ve built ourselves," said architect Gao Chi. Effective monitoring plus high stability and availability of AWS service has reduced the workload of operation and maintenance staff to maintain the application and has also reduced the O&M cost.

In addition, Microfun also uses AWS Cloud platform to realize agile and efficient big data analysis and report presentation. With Amazon EMR data analysis platform and Kinesis, Microfun makes a comprehensive analysis of the game system, presents sales and product reports in the first time, and also helps the business line develop more quickly and effectively.

More Information

To know how to use AWS Cloud to quickly create great games appealing to global audience, please visit Technology of Games page for details.